March 14, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 4: bongwater Vietnamese

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I'm flying solo in Tokyo tonight, as Foursheets is meeting up with one of her besties. As luck would have it, Big Mac is in town on business. So it was a perfect opportunity to catch up with him after more than a year. I was, of course, tasked with choosing the restaurant, and I did something a little out of the ordinary this time.

A few of my wine friends in Tokyo have been frequenting a place called Ăn Đi, a place serving Vietnamese cuisine which has a well-known sommelier. I had always been curious about the place, so I decided to book us seats to give it a try. I also booked the wine pairing.

Bánh mì - with mashed potato and purple cabbage, mint leaves, a big cashew nut, and lemon sauce.

There was no drink paired with the first course, so I took a ginger sour. This was very fragrant, maybe with some honey inside. Came with Japanese lemon that was grown without pesticides.

Tea leaf salad - the signature dish of the restaurant. In the center we have a fermented paste of roasted Yamecha (八女茶) surrounded by mixed grains and fruits such as Job's tears, sesame seeds, cherry tomatoes, orange, popcorn... etc. Served with a yogurt sauce. This kinda reminds me of the rice salad at Baan Ice (ร้านบ้านไอซ์).

2021 Noraponne Blanche - fizzy like ginger sale. Definitely tasted like a natural wine. Sweet fruits like pear on the nose, with a little sulfur. Sweet on the palate.

Soy milk soup - I think conceptually this is more like a Japanese tonyu nabe (豆乳鍋), with spicy duck meatballs flavored with kaffir lime leaves, tofu, lotus root stuffed with tofu, and confit of Buddha's hand citrus which was pretty nice and fragrant. Good acidity in the soup thanks to lime juice.

2020 Moreau-Naudet Chablis - very soft on the palate. Still got acidity and grippy palate, but definitely more gentle. Some flint on the nose, too.

Gỏi cuốn - they switched the ingredients for mine so that the beetroot is removed. Instead I have apple, kombu (昆布), Benihoppe (紅ほっぺ) strawberries, and peanuts.

The dip is made with butterbur buds (蕗の薹) and peanut butter.

Aramasa No.6 S-type (新政 No.6 S-type), 2021 - seimaibuai 45%/55%. Lots of fermented rice lees notes on the nose, and still pretty sweet.

Lightly grilled squid salad - the squid was scored and therefore very tender. Served with plum sauce, blood orange, rose petal jam, along with greens like rapeseed flower (菜の花), hosta (ウルイ), and spikenard (独活).

2021 Unico Zelo Esoterico - a little like canned lychees with that metallic nose. Not too bad for an orange wine.

Spicy lamb stew - the lamb had strong citrus flavors with lots of lemongrass as well as some fennel seeds. Came with both a grapefruit sauce was that pretty bitter and also a carrot sauce with cardamom. On the side there was a sprinkle of Vietnamese cacao powder with cacao nibs. Pickled shredded carrots on top.

2017 Ridolfi Brunello di Montalcino - a little bit of oak with some fragrance here. Not too acidic on the palate. OK lah.

Kimchi phở - served with udon, in a amazake (甘酒) and pineapple sauce. Also got cloves in there.

Minshuku Tono Doburoku Sokujo Nama (民宿とおの どぶろく 速醸生), 2023 - fizzy, sweet, and alcoholic on the nose.

Milk pudding with pear sorbet - with fragrance of bergamot, cardamom, and the perilla leaves and flowers were soooo fragrant that they left a lovely fragrance in the mouth.

Herbal tea

I sensed that Big Mac would like to drink a little more, so I picked out a friendly bottle from the wine list full of bongwater...

2016 Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py - really nice, nose of leather and also floral notes. Very fragrant.

Gotta say this was an interesting meal. I could see the pairing at work from time to time, but at least none of the bongwater sucked. Very happy to have met up with my friend, and too bad he couldn't join us for a fantastic sushi lunch later in the week.

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